KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday restrained till Sept 24 the Federal Investigation Agency from taking any adverse action against two Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders in an enquiry into the prohibited funding case.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha also issued notices to the interior secretary, director general-FIA, deputy director FIA-Karachi and the deputy attorney general for the next hearing.

Former Sindh governor Imran Ismail and MPA Dr Seema Zia, through their counsel, petitioned the SHC impugning the call-up notices issued by the FIA on Aug 5 in connection with an enquiry into alleged mismanagement of party funds.

SHC issues notices on PTI leaders’ plea against FIA probe into prohibited funding case

The petitioners’ lawyer argued that the impugned notices were issued pursuant to the Aug 2 order of the Election Commission of Pakistan in the PTI’s prohibited funding case.

He stated that the ECP had not referred the matter to the FIA and the notices were issued without jurisdiction only to harass and humiliate the petitioners.

The counsel has placed reliance on an order of the Peshawar High Court passed on Aug 11 in a writ petition filed by former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser in an identical matter and pleaded to issue a restraining order for the FIA not to take any coercive action against the petitioners.

“Be that as it may, let notices be issued to the respondents as well as DAG for 24.09.2022. Meanwhile, FIA may continue enquiry, however, no adverse action pursuant to the notices stated above be taken against the petitioners till the next date of hearing,” the bench in its order said.

Both PTI leaders in their petition submitted that their party was singled out despite orders passed by the Islamabad High Court for hearing and concluding pending matters related to other political parties.

They were of the view that the order passed by the ECP was a fact-finding report that required other proceedings to be initiated by issuing a show-cause notice and it cannot be considered as the final conclusion of the ECP.

They submitted that the ECP never called any regional wing including the Sindh chapter of the PTI or any other allied mother wing or office-bearers and maintained that the bank accounts opened and maintained by local office-bearers of regional/provincial wing of the PTI were never used for foreign funding or prohibited funding rather the central party through cross cheques transferred certain amounts for expenditure to the provincial wing, which was a matter of record.

They alleged that they were going to be victimised politically by using agencies as a tool to pressurise political rivals and pleaded to set aside the impugned call-up notices.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2022

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